Is It a Boil or a Pimple? How to Tell the Difference

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Is It a Boil or a Pimple? How to Tell the Difference

(AscendHealthy.com) – Maintaining a flawless appearance can be challenging. Between hormone fluctuations and bad beauty products, breakouts are a given! Sometimes major trouble spots can occur, leading to pimples, or worse, boils. Know how to spot key differences by checking out the full article.

Quick Read:
Both boils and pimples cause red, bumpy blemishes on the skin. It’s not just that they are unsightly, they are downright painful. While getting rid of them might seem like the first thing to know, differentiating between them is square one. Check out our guide below.


What’s Growing On Your Face? A Pimple or Boil? Read Ahead and Find Out! 

Boils Vs. Pimples: Key Differences

Noticing big changes in the skin can be troubling. It’s important to identify what the underlying culprit is right away. If we have a lump that appears to be fluid-filled, it could be either a pimple or a boil.

Pimples are caused by clogged pores, while boils are generally caused by a bacterial infection. Here’s how to spot the differences:

  • Pimples generally appear on the face and back, where sweat accumulates.
  • Boils can appear red and swollen and are very painful.
  • Pimples are smaller than boils and have a whitehead or blackhead.
  • Boils grow quickly, forcing the skin to become severely swollen and inflamed.

Any major changes in the skin that don’t heal with over-the-counter medication warrants a trip to the doctor.

Treating A Boil

Some natural remedies can be tried when treating a boil:

  • Use a warm compress on the affected area to draw out pus and help it drain naturally.
  • Keep the area uncovered as much as possible.
  • Wash the entire area with an antibacterial soap until healed.

Sometimes boils can turn into a more serious skin condition called a carbuncle. This is a cluster of boils under the skin. Because boils are infections under the skin, be sure to see a qualified healthcare provider or dermatologist for an evaluation.

Treating Bothersome Acne

Pimples are a symptom of acne. They occur when oil and sebum build-up under the skin. Most people can use over-the-counter treatments that include benzoyl peroxide. This is a proven method to target bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells. All of which can lead to bothersome pimple outbreaks.

If irritation persists, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests broader solutions, including an antibiotic, prednisone and/or a strong acne-fighting medication called isotretinoin.

Long-term Prevention

After successful treatment, most people focus on prevention or recurring outbreaks of either pimples or boils. Even with most preventative measures, it’s still good to consider doing these things:

  • Wash your face at least twice a day.
  • Keep sweaty areas dry and clean.
  • Consider topical acne treatments, including retinoids.

If your dermatologist has a specific recommendation, follow that first.

Boils and pimple outbreaks can lead to feelings of frustration and insecurity. Pinpointing exactly what skin condition you’re dealing with should be the first course of action. Because both these conditions can potentially lead to scarring, it’s important to treat and to follow up with healthcare providers if the conditions do not improve quickly. There is hope! Identifying and treating the root cause will bring you one step closer to clear, healthy skin.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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